Twelve Praises of Amida Buddha

 

^I bow my head to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One,1

1 The original verse literally describes the Buddha as the most honored one “having two feet,” which means he is to be revered among humans and devas.

Who is revered by all devas and humans,

He dwells in that wondrous Land of Pease,

Surrounded by countless bodhisattvas.2

2 The original verse literally states “an assembly of Buddha’s disciples,” which includes sravakas and pratyekabuddhas.

^His golden body is pure and great like Sumeru, King of Mountains.

His practice of samatha is as steady as an elephant’s tread.

His eyes are pure and clear like the blue lotus flower.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^His countenance is pure and serene like the full moon.

His majestic radiance is like a thousand suns and moons.

His voice sounds like a heavenly drum or kokila.1

1 A long-tailed cuckoo.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^On the crown atop Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Sit various wondrous forms of Amida adorned with treasures.

They skillfully subdue the arrogant heretics and maras.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^Incomparable, untainted, vast, and pure,

All his virtues are pristine and serene like space.

He freely imparts benefits to all sentient beings.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^Amida Buddha’s Name is well known throughout the ten quarters.

Bodhisattvas and countless maras constantly praise him, saying,

“He works on behalf of sentient beings with the power of his Vow.”

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^On a lotus flower blooming in the treasure pool lined with gold.

There is a wondrous throne produced by the roots of good.

One that throne sits Amida, like Sumeru, King of Mountains,

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^All the bodhisattvas who come from the ten quarters,

Manifesting *supernatural powers, reach the Land of Peace.

Looking up to the Buddha, they constantly revere him.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^All things are impermanent and nonsubstantial,

Like the moon in the water, a lightning flash, or the dew.

For all beings, the Buddha expounds the Dharma that cannot be expressed in words.1

1 Another interpretation of the line is: “For the sake of all beings, the Buddha expounds the Dharma without using words.”

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^In the Buddha-land there is not even a word for ‘evil,’

Nor are there any women2 or the fear of evil courses.

2 In the Pure Land, there is no discrimination or distinction between male and female.

All beings sincerely revere him from the bottom of their hearts.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^That Buddha-land is filled with innumerable means that lead us to take refuge,

And there are neither evil realms nor evil teachers.

One who is born there attains enlightenment without fail.

Therefore I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One.

^I have expounded the virtues of Amida Buddha,

Which are as boundless as the vast waters of the ocean.

Having myself received the Buddha’s pure good,

I direct it to all sentient beings to enable them to be born in that Land.1

1 Shinran wrote a wasan in the Hymns of the Pure Land Masters based on this verse. “It is taught, concerning Namo Amida Butsu, / That its virtue is like the vast waters of the ocean; / Having myself received that pure land, / I direct it equally to all sentient beings.”